Concerned Black Women’s first meeting of the year Saturday was to highlight the War in Iraq and the lack of involvement by black people. A panel discussing the issue included, attorneys Stan Willis, William Hooks, Lewis Meyer, Larry Kennon, professor Bob Starks, mayoral candidate Bill Walls and WLS talk show host Nate Clay.

CBW’s founder Doris Lewis said the black community must become more involved?” and knowledgeable about this war.

“As black people we cannot sit idle and not let our voices be heard,” she said. “We are not vocal enough as our sons and daughters die fighting this unjust war. We have been lied to and the cost of this war has a direct correlation to our communities. Young black men and women must be involved – this war is about young people.”

Respected attorney William “Bill” Hooks was the keynote speaker for the forum.

“They did not anticipate that in going into Iraq, the Iraqi people would fight back,” he said.” They don’t understand the nationalism of people. They missed that whole period of nationalism with the African nations. People don’t want you in their countries.”

Prof. Starks of Northeastern University’s Inner City Studies gave the audience a break down of the dollars being spent on the war. The House Appropriations Committee recently approved a $91 billion emergency spending measure, providing $72 billion in new funds supporting efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but only $4.2 billion for Hurricane Katrina development.

Starks and Nate Clay both explained the hardships many African Americans are facing because of the war and the cost to taxpayers. Approximately 2309 Americans have died since the war began in March 2003 and at least 17,000 U.S. troops have been wounded.

Hooks said the United States, “were hoping to drop some bombs and just take over.”

“The U.S. has so many troops tied up in Iraq that they are forcing the National Guard to go to Iraq,” he warned. “People don’t want to reenlist and nobody is joining [the armed services]. The grand plan is to militarized the youth in our community. The U.S. is spending billions of dollars not just in Iraq, but also in public schools all over the country. Chicago is the center of the foremost schools for military spending, and almost half of our schools have junior ROTC components.”

Hooks said high school ROTC’s are introducing young people to the military.

Hooks walked the audience through a history of some government officials who have made military decisions, but when it came to their own service or that of their children, they avoided service altogether.

“I want you to try to guess how these white judges and these black judges who never served a day in the military because they went to law school, the bench and the prosecutors office, are going to appreciate these brothers who have served, lost legs

and come back all screwed up?,” Hooks asked. “They could care less about them, because these brothers listened to George Bush and went over there and put themselves at risk. These others disregarded George Bush, except to vote for him and got their education and now they are going to sit in judgment on these brothers who come back to us less than they were when they left. That’s the test of whether this military means anything.

“These judges and prosecutors don’t give him any deference because he’s a black veteran,” Hooks added, “in fact they might create an argument and say you should have known better.”

In talking about veterans returning home, Hooks said, “I can’t tell you how many ‘walking wounded’ we currently have, but those of us who do criminal law, we will start seeing our ‘walking wounded’ in these courtrooms, both state and federal.”